And now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.
When you do something that is classified as boneheaded, be quick to acknowledge your humanness. Launching into mean-spirited self-talk lands us in the valley of suffering. This dark valley is a place where we may brutalize ourselves based on our inner critic and self-talk. I make many boneheaded mistakes. Just to give you a picture of what I am up against and experience as a human, here are a few examples:
• I lost my driver’s license while on vacation in Maine–I had to go through a wildly invasive security process with pat down to get home. Then, 3 weeks later….
• I lost my (newly issued) driver’s license somewhere between the airport curb and the security gate. I landed on the opposite coast unable to rent a car or attend any of the carefully planned college visits with my younger son.
• I have outright missed flights, went to wrong airports, arrived at airports at 8 AM for 8 PM flights, etc..
• I ignored my younger son’s complaints of abdominal pain until the drive to the ER was nearly unbearable for him. He was in the OR hours later with an emergency appendectomy.
• Teaching older son how to blow up a bike tire, I instructed him to pump until 120 PSI. The tire blew up in his face and we later learned it was 40 PSI. Son unharmed, tire bent and ruined.
• Despite complaints of a scratchy throat after eating shellfish, I nearly forced my older son to eat shrimp throughout his childhood. At a Japanese steakhouse, the chef threw shrimp into our mouths in the way they do, and one hit my son in the eye. Minutes later, the eye swells dramatically and temporarily disfigures him. Soon after having him allergy tested, I learn he has a class 4 allergy [0-4 scale] to shellfish requiring epi-pen intervention.
The remedy for feeling bad about making mistakes (even stupid ones) is radical acceptance and self-compassion. I have been paying attention to my self-talk and learning to go gently, self-correcting when I can. For example, I have a new policy of getting to airports 45 minutes earlier than usual so that I can be more generous and kind to myself and others, making it a priority to thank the TSA for their service. Remember, as Diane Von Furstenberg says, “you’re always with yourself, so you might as well enjoy the company.”
17 October 2017